My Southern Yellow Pine Split Top Roubo

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Project by PlanBWoodworks posted 02-16-2019 01:15 AM 4933 views 12 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I tell people that I am a woodworker. Sometimes, I think that my real hobby is a workbench builder who occasionally takes on woodworking projects. This Roubo is the 3rd – and hopefully last…- workbench that I have built for my woodworking addiction. My first real woodworking bench was built when my wife thought that she might still park in the garage again one day. It was only 4 feet long for space saving reasons. It had a 4” thick laminated top and was as ugly as it was strong. My second workbench was designed to be more of a looker than a workbench. At 5 feet long and with a 3” thick laminated top, it was larger, but not really very useful. It was stained and had a padded on shellac top that was a ridiculous surface for any type of real work.

Since the parking in the garage thing has gone away permanently, I decided that I could finally build a workbench that would be large enough to meet my needs, and be a bench that would be useful as well aesthetically pleasing. I ordered the Benchcrafted Split Top Roubo Plans and started designing, The plans call for a bench that is 87” long. I did not want a bench quite that long, so I cut my bench down to 79”. My intention was originally to end up at 78”, but through fairly accurate clamping during glue ups, I did not need to trim much off the ends to even them up. Also, the bench was designed to end up at 24” wide. My first bench was 30” wide, and I really enjoyed the extra width, so I modified the plans to end up with a 30” wide top.

I batttled with my choice of wood and hardware for the bench. The Benchcrafted hardware is incredible. I have never heard anything but praise for it, and at $700 I would hope so. I couldn’t justify to myself spending that kind of money on vises. Similarly, while I initially planned on building the bench out of ash, again, the price tag was not something that I could convince myself to spend. In the end, I went with Yost vise hardware and good old 2×12s from the big box stores.

I started the bench in earnest in mid January, but it wasn’t until I was took a vacation in early February that I really made progress. The top is 4” thick. The legs are 3 1/2” thick and 5” wide. The base is about 42” wide. I like a taller bench even though I am 5’9”. The final height is 38”, which seems to be pretty perfect for me.

I won’t go into great detail about the build, but I can tell you that there was a lot of jointing, planing and LOTS of glue. I used 2×12s that I carefully selected for grain and lack of defects. I was very selective when it came to pieces that would show to end up with clear bench top and leg faces. My clamps were constantly in use. I bored the round dog holes before laminating whole sections so that I could use my drill press.

The back half of the top is fairly straightforward, but the front half of the top is about 10” of solid top laminated to the square dog hole piece with a front lamination. I laminated a couple of boards to get a piece 1 3/8” thick and used a router to route out the dog holes. Then, I laminated another 3/8” thick piece to the front of that, followed by the front face. The square dogs are cut from scrap and have an ash spring to keep them from falling through the top.

My top glue ups were fairly flat aided greatly by the use of my biscuit joiner. I know that a lot of people don’t love the biscuit joiner, but I can say that since I picked up the Dewalt joiner in October of last year, my panel glue ups are far flatter than they were prior.

The leg vise, using the Yost screw, was pretty easy. I had already constructed the chop, and it was in use on my previous bench. I did add the standard through leg parallel guide during the construction of the legs and base. I bought a piece of 3/8” steel that I cut to size and glued into a piece of dowel for the guide pin. I was so pleased with the screw that I ordered the Yost end vise to include on this bench. That is where my pleasure withYost vices ended. That might actually not be fair to say. From what I can tell, there is no version of the sliding end vise available that comes with any type of clear instructions on installation. I found an article from one of the woodworking mags where the author built a bench using what appears to be the Woodcraft version of the same vise, and used that as a guide. After following the included diagrams/instructions from the article, my vise did not line up properly, so I went back to the drawing board.

I decided that I really only needed the vise screw, so I tossed the slide portions. I cut a thick piece of pine that I drilled a 1 1/4” hole in to accommodate the screw, and cut out the shape of the sliding nut in another. I glued on a front and back face to the nut and then I glued on a wider top piece that would hold the removeable dog and ride in the channels that I routed in the top to accept the nut. In the end, it worked out, and I am pretty happy with the way that it works.

After sanding everything to 120, I gave everything a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil. I probably will end up building a storage cabinet that will sit on the shelf below the bench top, but thought I would spend a little time working on the bench so that I have a better idea of what I want to store in that cabinet. Also, I used dowels and drawboring to complete the base assembly rather than Benchcrafted’s knock down hardware.

I love my new bench! It is heavy, has more features than I need, and is solid as I could hope for. The size is perfect for anything that I need it for, and I am very proud of the way that it looks. I am not sure that I will need to remove the gap stop often, but I can absolutely see that the I will use the slots for tool storage often. I also am really looking forward to having the ability to slide the gap stop over to use the slightly elevated stop as a planing stop. I ordered a couple of Grammercy holdfasts to provide additional workholding capabilities.

In all, I probably have about $300 in the bench in wood and hardware. Had I gone with ash and the Benchcrafted hardware, I would have been looking at closer to $1,400. I am very happy with the end result AND I am shopping for a new 8” jointer with the savings!

I am going to add several pics below from the build. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for looking!

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

16 comments so far

View socrbent's profile


1043 posts in 3381 days

#1 posted 02-16-2019 02:41 AM

Beautiful, well thought out and crafted.

-- socrbent Ohio

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4145 days

#2 posted 02-16-2019 02:54 AM

Very Nice Project & Well Done! Thanks for all the Details and Pics!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4145 days

#3 posted 02-16-2019 02:58 AM

”Comment can’t be blank.” It’s NOT! There is NO Comment other than the one Above!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Oni's profile


87 posts in 999 days

#4 posted 02-16-2019 08:13 AM

Practice makes perfect. Very nice!

View Zonker's profile


148 posts in 963 days

#5 posted 02-16-2019 03:33 PM

Beautiful bench. It should give you great service.

-- Larry A. - I've made a small fortune with my woodworking. The trouble is, I started with a large fortune.

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3530 days

#6 posted 02-16-2019 03:40 PM

great looking bench. I’m just finishing up building my Roubo workbench

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5209 days

#7 posted 02-16-2019 03:57 PM

Lovely bench.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4446 days

#8 posted 02-16-2019 04:12 PM

You have good reason to be proud of the build. Outstanding work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View theoldfart's profile


12627 posts in 3563 days

#9 posted 02-16-2019 06:41 PM

Fine looking bench.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View builtinbkyn's profile


3027 posts in 2052 days

#10 posted 02-16-2019 11:32 PM

Certainly looks like a nice stout bench! Happy days using it!

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9910 posts in 3440 days

#11 posted 02-17-2019 12:29 AM

Great job

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View dannmarks's profile


1026 posts in 1693 days

#12 posted 02-17-2019 01:39 PM

Saved this for further reference in the future… Seriously cool.

View PlanBWoodworks's profile


174 posts in 1594 days

#13 posted 02-18-2019 02:51 AM

Thanks to all for the comments. I appreciate it. I am glad to be finished working on the bench so that I can finally work on the bench!

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

View dannmarks's profile


1026 posts in 1693 days

#14 posted 02-28-2019 05:05 PM

OK Revisiting this one again because I want one like it…

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17352 posts in 3730 days

#15 posted 02-28-2019 05:19 PM

Very nice build, and the result is outstanding. Congrats!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

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